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Publisher's Summary

A New York Times technology correspondent presents the dramatic rise and fall of Uber, set against the rapid upheaval in Silicon Valley during the mobile era. 

In June 2017, Travis Kalanick, the hard-charging CEO of Uber, was ousted in a boardroom coup that capped a brutal year for the transportation giant. Uber had catapulted to the top of the tech world yet for many came to symbolize everything wrong with Silicon Valley. In the tradition of Brad Stone’s Everything Store and John Carreyrou’s Bad Blood, award-winning investigative reporter Mike Isaac’s Super Pumped delivers a gripping account of Uber’s rapid rise, its pitched battles with taxi unions and drivers, the company’s toxic internal culture and the bare-knuckle tactics it devised to overcome obstacles in its quest for dominance. 

Based on hundreds of interviews with current and former Uber employees, along with previously unpublished documents, Super Pumped is a pause-resisting story of ambition and deception, obscene wealth and bad behavior that explores how blistering technological and financial innovation culminated in one of the most catastrophic 12-month periods in American corporate history.

©2019 Mike Isaac (P)2019 Audible, Inc.

Featured Article: Our Editors Reveal—The Listens that Got Us Hooked


Our editors have quite the impressive libraries, but where did it all begin? They've thought back to their own very first listens or the audiobook that took them from audio amateur to totally Audicted, all the while recommending accessible favorites for new listeners to find a starting point for themselves. From time travel to true crime to tech exposés, these are the listens that got us hooked—and a few of the very best audiobooks for first time listeners.

What listeners say about Super Pumped

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A forced narrative and a bad version of Bad Blood

Unlike John Carreyrou's "Bad Blood" which was investigated extensively to try to found out the truth about Theranos, Super Pumped felt like a narrative that was formed prior to writing and then investigated to try to have the story fit the narrative.

The book felt like one big opinion piece against Uber -- it had an overwhelmingly negative tone against tech companies, members at Uber and VC firms. There wasn't a cohesive story -- at times I felt like I was reading a book about Uber and then there'd be tangents about Google and how bad VC firms were. I was interested in learning about the story behind Uber but all I got was an amalgamation of negative news stories that were already widely known against the company.

If you hate the company Uber, then this book is likely the perfect book to read as it will feed your negative viewpoint of the company. But if you are indifferent and are interested in reading an unbiased view to learn about the company and it's history, this likely isn't a great book for you.

The book had a lot of potential but ultimately I was let down.

44 people found this helpful

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A bit hysterical

The book seems breathlessly negative and the narrator sounds like the voiceover from a bad discovery channel documentary - reading the whole thing in a false excitement announcer voice. Story has a lot of potential so I'm disappointed.

22 people found this helpful

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Entertaining, but author clearly has an agenda

Like probably most of you, I consume a lot of these sort of books. This one was well researched and entertaining. My only gripe is that the author blatantly has an agenda. He comes across as a socialist and social justice warrior. I understand that Uber made mistakes along the way, but it's not like they were eating babies. They also created a hundred billion dollar company from thin air and made their investors obscenely rich.

19 people found this helpful

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  • IB
  • 09-15-19

Great story, odd recording

both narrators' voices suffer from high audio distortion. e.g. the first narrator clicks often and the sometimes main narrator sounds like he's in a cave. would benefit from audio remastering.

9 people found this helpful

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Basically a gossip book

It's an entertaining story. As a business book it's terrible. An example: "The year after Trump's election was one of the worst ever for American corporations". LOL. Great analysis, Mike.

7 people found this helpful

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You can feel the distain in the writing

This is a well written one-sided view of Uber. The writer cheers on the demise of the founder’s (Travis Kalanick) position in the company calling him a loser at one point. It is clear that he lacks the understanding of what it takes to be inspiring or how to write a balanced article. This is the type of writer that would take jabs at Steve Jobs or anyone else that set out to change the status quo. Basically, if you want truth it isn’t found here but it’s a good fairytale.

7 people found this helpful

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Well told story

This is an incredible story and I was impressed at the detail of the author. There were a few moments where the author was unable to hide his personal views on certain leaders of the company, but overall I really enjoyed the performance and writing.

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Definitely Worth My Time

I'm a big fan of in depth stories on business and this definitely didn't disappoint. Very well put together and thought out. The narrator also gave a great reading. I didn't follow Uber as these stories were developing and was able to follow along very easily.

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Best Thriller .

Totally loved this book. This is a beautifully written book. The story is dramatic and well executed. Get the audio book totally worth the listen.

4 people found this helpful

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  • TC
  • 09-08-19

Fantastic Investigative Reporting

I've been following Mike Isaac on Twitter for a couple years, and he has become one of the most entertaining figures in my Twitter timeline, both for his humor and his reporting. I preordered this book based on my enthusiasm for his Tweets and NY Times stories, and was not disappointed. If you enjoyed Carreyrou's Bad Blood, then Isaac's investigation into another (in)famous Silicon Valley company will also be a treat for you. I never had a desire to watch a movie about Travis Kalanick, but after finishing Super Pumped I think a film adaptation would be fantastic. Some of the most dramatic moments in the history of Uber would make for great movie scenes, especially with Isaac's masterful storytelling.

4 people found this helpful

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  • Olly Buxton
  • 09-09-19

Sanctimonious and lightweight

Spoiler. At the time of publication, Uber hasn't collapsed.
It is still running, globally, more or less as it has done, albeit with a politer management team. There has been no apocalypse. However much Mike Isaacs might wish it were different, Uber is (as yet) no Theranos, Madoff or Enron, and Isaacs devotes little attention to the question of whether it might be, which to me is the question he should be asking.

It is hardly news that Travis Kalanick is an aggressive, unscrupulous and unpleasant individual, and that he cultivated an unpleasant macho culture that uber is still struggling to throw off - isaacs' long since published journalism for the NYT has attested to that - but that is the main allegation of this book. It is thin, prurient, sanctimonious gruel.

If you didn't know that, you'll get it in spades here - but it is no accident or fluke that uber/lyft has revolutionised a notoriously protectionist, inefficient and reform-proof industry. It is a good idea, and it works. Whether it is a 65bn business is another matter.

The irony is that uber's financial fortunes have markedly declined *since* Kalanick was defenestrated - as a hurried epilogue notes, without pausing to consider why this might be so - and you are left wondering whether Isaacs has spent his energy being so righteously indignant at people saying horrid things in team meetings that he hasn't noticed the real question: is Uber a good business? Does its business model even work? What kind of collective hysteria gave it a 65 billion valuation in the first place? What could possibly justify that?

Isaacs is so, outraged at obnoxious interpersonal behaviour, seems to have missed the main story here.

7 people found this helpful

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  • christina
  • 01-28-20

Some filler, not much killer

The book tells the basic Uber story competently enough and the author seems to have at least some inside knowledge. But I never got the feeling of being made an insider in the company or understanding what made the main players tick. A lot of it seemed to be based on public sources, telling stories anyone with a passing interest in Uber will be familiar with already.

There was also a lot of telling of stories about other companies, e.g. Google, which was interesting at points, but more often felt like unnecessary filler.

Overall, if you have a keen interest in Uber, I doubt you'll learn much of interest from this and if you don't, I doubt this will spark one.

3 people found this helpful

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  • Eric
  • 09-07-19

Great book, Mike knows this story better than anyone

Really enjoyable book, I’ve been following Mike for years, and have seen a lot of what he writes about, albeit at a smaller scale, happening everywhere in the industry. Great story, writing, and well reported.

2 people found this helpful

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  • Jamie
  • 09-17-21

Incredible story but poor audio quality

The audio was very muffled throughout. Not sure if it was due to the readers voice or the audio quality but it made it harder to listen to.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Pest of Buda
  • 10-24-19

Innovation, lawbreaking and an obscene amount of $

I can't quite believe it myself, but, this book about technology, money making, corruption, greed, law breaking and innovation was a real page turner.

I only chose it as part of the Wired.co.uk book club, not expecting to even get through it. But I did. My favourite part was about how they quite unashamedly found ways to hack the system to gain personal data, prevent access to data and do it all on the down low.

I'm going to take my hat off to the narrator/s, as it was their enthusiasm and energy that really super pumped me through this story.

Bring on the next wired.co.uk book!

1 person found this helpful

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  • Hossam
  • 11-30-21

Life changing listen

This is a life changing book, so detailed and full of great insights about how the real business world goes around us. Very recommended.

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  • Xim
  • 05-06-21

Muy favourite book of this pandemic 2021

the writing is phenomenal, the story is to good to be true that feels almost cannot be real so much sh**!
Travis's journey is incredible. has left me uber pumped not from the company or value or role model pov but more from wow such crazy story that is fascinating

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  • Mr. Lee Graham
  • 12-17-20

Just brilliant

Great from start to finish. There will never be another Uber or another Travis!

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  • cb ellon
  • 11-13-20

A bit all over the place but good.

An amazing story of how messed up Uber is. A bit long and slows down at the end but worth a listen.

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  • Oluyinka Kolawole
  • 09-28-20

Good book

I often wonder what readers expect when I read their reviews after reading the book!

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  • Adam Webb
  • 01-03-20

Great story - very prescient

This is really good. Covers a lot of ground around uber and has a bit of a look into the world of venture capital. There’s no good guys in this story. They’re all despicable characters driven by power and money. Uber and venture capitalists are not on an honourable mission. It’s all about making maximum money at any cost. The VC group speaks about ousting the CEO to save the company. It’s about saving their money. Best not to lose sight of that fact.

2 people found this helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 03-28-20

Painful

Great story, but awful to listen to more than even the opening few paragraphs of a performer who sounds like he has lock jaw, and the worlds worst blocked nose. Amazingly it sounded intentional!!!

1 person found this helpful

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  • Tally McNally
  • 03-02-20

Walking on fire with a hat made of snow

Pretty dang good book. Lots a detail on back characters to help flesh the story. Worth the read and ten coin.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Peter levy
  • 12-06-19

Very Interesting

An insight into the minds behind great ideas. Worth listening. The disruption game is alive and well.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Matt Sayer
  • 04-08-22

A thorough and thoroughly fascinating expose

An amazing investigative journey into one of the more controversial tech companies of the modern day.

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  • Stuart Halliday
  • 02-15-22

The Long Choice

I wasn't sure which UBER book to choose so I chose the longer audiobook. I now wonder what I would have missed with the shorter book. This account was great, never slow or filled with unnecessary details from a journalist who was there in the thick of it. I learnt a lot about capital and silicon valley startups but more about the amazing things you have to overcome to created a cab hailing digital platform. A+

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  • Anonymous User
  • 12-09-21

Great book

Fantastic story of the rise and fall of Travis K. Crazy to hear the dodgy things they did in the early days

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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • anthony
  • 09-09-20

interesting but seemed to lack a general direction

interesting story about the rise of Uber but seemed a little "rumour mill" rather than fact. The book didn't seem to follow a set path and has at times a little hard to follow.

Worthwhile but not memorable.

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  • Nic
  • 05-05-20

Dives deep

Well researched. I didn't know the half of it. Goes beyond Uber, beyond tech and beyond startups and venture capitalists.

The excellent narration makes it entertaining to listen too.